Daniel Craig film ‘Dream House’ seeks to avoid critics


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Over more than two decades making movies, Jim Sheridan has had a remarkable career. He’s been nominated for an Oscar six times, including twice for best director, and come to embody smart, upscale entertainment with films such as ‘In the Name of the Father’ and ‘My Left Foot.’

So it’s more than a little surprising that his latest movie, a supernatural thriller called ‘Dream House’ that’s being distributed by Universal Pictures, won’t screen for critics before it’s released next Friday. That’s an evasive move usually reserved for very marginal genre films (or worse) -- movies for which distributors believe critical response would be so poor they’d rather have no opening-day review at all. (Most outlets respond by running a shorter review, often from a backup critic, after the film opens.)


‘Dream House’ tells of a New York power couple (Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig) who relocate to a picturesque New England town in the hope of a quieter life, only to find that the house may be cursed by its former inhabitants, who were murdered there. (You can check out the trailer below.)

Part of the surprise of ‘Dream House’ not screening for critics is that the film has A-listers as its stars (besides Weisz and Craig, there’s Naomi Watts) and there’s added interest because Craig and Weisz are a real-life couple. Craig didn’t exactly light the world afire, critically or commercially, with ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ this summer, and neither did Weisz in ‘The Whistleblower.’ But he’s still a fan favorite who can open a James Bond picture. He’s not usually shunted to the no-review heap. Neither is Weisz or Watts.

A spokesman for Morgan Creek, which financed and produced the picture, declined to comment, as did a Universal spokeswoman.

The movie may have come under a hex of its own: the film was originally set to come out last February but the release date had to move when the film required weather-related reshoots.


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--Steven Zeitchik